Treating Tennis or Golf Elbow without Surgery

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Is pain at your elbow holding you back from playing your favorite summer sports? Golfers, tennis players and busy people alike all frequently suffer from pain at the elbow. When it is located along the outside of the elbow (laterally), it is called Tennis Elbow or Lateral Epicondylitis. This pain occurs with gripping the hand and extending the arm. Think of the backhand tennis swing or turning a screwdriver. The pain can be severe enough that even holding a cup of coffee is difficult. In the past, this was considered an inflammatory issue but careful study of the tendons shows that there is actually no inflammation. Instead, the tendons are degenerating and attempting to repair themselves but are failing. (Tendinosis is a more accurate term but seldom used.) If treated early, resting the arm by avoiding the triggering activity and wearing a simple strap over the tendon will often be successful in relieving the pain and allowing the tendon to heal. If not, more invasive therapies are commonly recommended, such as injections with steroids or surgery to cut the damaged tendon. Both approaches have major problems associated with them. While temporarily relieving pain, steroid injections will not heal anything. In fact, the injections will damage the tendon further and can lead to the tendon tearing. And in terms of effectiveness, the surgical option is comparable to do nothing at all or to what the medical industry calls a Sham Surgery, where an incision is made but the actual surgery is not carried out. Healing Tennis Elbow Tendinosis The most sensible option is with platelet rich plasma (PRP). PRP has been shown to produce long-term relief of tennis elbow pain and be more effective than steroids. How do platelet injections work? Platelets are what your body uses to heal itself every time it is injured. The platelets have growth factors that are released to aid healing. For example, if you cut yourself, the platelets clot the blood and also release growth factors to help the cut heal. Hence, platelets trigger the body’s natural healing cascade so you heal yourself. It’s that simple. At Advanced PainCare, these injections are performed with Regenexx® proprietary protocols and with ultrasound guidance so you get precise placement of highly concentrated platelets into the damaged tendon where they can be most effective. Healing Golfer’s Elbow This condition is similar to Tennis Elbow but the injured tendons are on the inside of the elbow, medially. You may hear this condition called Medial Epicondylitis. Once again, a misnomer. There is no inflammation, just tendon breakdown, more accurately termed tendinosis. This pain is generally triggered with forceful flexing, swinging, or gripping at the hand and wrist. While It is much less common than Tennis Elbow, the same treatment principles apply. PRP is the best option as it can trigger you to heal your own tendons; something that steroid injections and surgery can never do. If you suffer from one of these conditions, call Advanced PainCare today to get started on healing the natural way, without damaging steroids and without ineffective surgery. Call 717-791-2860 and ask for a Regenexx® evaluation.

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